Zenit interviews CAPP’s Chairman Mr. Domingo Sugranyes 03.02.2010

Read the interview: click here.

The Foundation “Centesimus Annus” shows us the way to a virtuous economy.
The business community and the Social Doctrine of the Church . (by Costantino Coros)

Rome, Wednesday February 3, 2010 (ZENIT.org). The Encyclical Caritas in Veritate aroused enormous interest in the economic, financial and working communities throughout the world.

In particular more and more questions are being asked to learn about, or get to know better, the social teachings of the Catholic Church.

To get a better idea of what is happening, ZENIT interviewed Domingo Sugranyes Bickel, the new Chairman of the Board of the Foundation “Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice”.

Domingo Sugranyes Bickel, a Spaniard, was born in Freiburg (Switzerland), where he graduated in economic and political sciences.He is married, has three children and seven grandchildren and lives in Madrid.Prior to his appointment he served as Vice Chairman of the Foundation.

He has been a member of the International Christian Union of Business Executives (UNIAPAC) since 1969, Secretary General from 1974 to 1981 and Chairman from 1997 to 2000.He has held several executive positions in London, Barcelona, Rome and Geneva.He has been working for MAPFRE, the premiere insurance company in Spain, since 1981, holding various positions including that of Executive Vice President.

At present he serves on the Board of the MAPFRE Foundation and on the Controlling Committee of the Group.He also serves on the Board of Società Cattolica di Assicurazione, Verona and is involved in various initiatives such as Cristianismo y Sociedad (Paul VI Foundation, Madrid) and l’Observatoire de la Finance (Geneva).

Social Doctrine of the Church and the economic and financial community: what should one do in order to promote the social Magisterium among economic players?

Domingo Sugranyes: luckily, the Social Doctrine of the Church is not a book of recipes but a source of reflection and inspiration.Its texts ask of economic players, first of all, a personal effort to change how they define their goals and the ways to achieve them.It is an invitation the Encyclicals address to the faithful and to “all men of good will”.There are no shortcuts allowing to “implement” the Social Doctrine without this long personal struggle.

Accordingly, the Foundation “Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice” will continue to give its contribution to the work of diffusion and debate that is indispensable to enhance the influence of the Social Doctrine on the economic community.

The Holy Father’s thoughts on economic and social issues enjoy increasing authority because they constantly emphasize the human person’s center role and the fundamental importance of working together for the common good.A line of thought far removed from the mechanical and deterministic views of economic theories, which are now faced with society’s deepfelt aspirations, and confirms the empirical findings of many economists.

The answer to your question is therefore a simple one: We must help people get to know the “hidden treasure” which is the Social Doctrine of the Church andpromote group discussions among people holding executive positions to help us reach theoretical and practical conclusions.This is the Foundation’s task.

The Foundation “Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice”, with its 500 members active in some ten countries, is an international reality, capable of observing the trends of the global economy.What does the Foundation do to reach out to entrepreneurs?

Domingo Sugranyes: first of all we endeavour to increase membership and expand into more countries.

To convince entrepreneurs one must show understanding for their preoccupations; in this context the Encyclical Caritas in Veritate provides some very interesting insights on the expanded role of the entrepreneur, which has never been determined bythe mere pursuit of short term gain (the motivations of entrepreneur and passive investor are quite different) but must now acquire new goals and new ways of pursuing the common good. The “laws” of market and politics must go side by side with ideals of gift and gratuitousness.

To really comprehend these aspirations and translate them into practical economic action we rely on the help of our spiritual assistants and of an international group of academics serving on CAPP’s Scientific Committee (chaired by an eminent Italian economist, Prof. Alberto Quadrio Curzio).The Committee’s work provides food for thought at CAPP’s international conferences and numerous meetings organized by members at national or local level.

Forming consciences in a Christian perspective is a very important task which the Foundation has been carrying on since its inception.What are the programs and goals you intend to pursue during your tenure?

Domingo Sugranyes: CAPP members pledge commitment to formation in the Social Doctrine of the Church.In Italy they can do so through courses organized by the Foundation in cooperation with the Pontifical Lateran University.In other countries there are institutions providing this type of formation and the Foundation is working on agreements with them in order to establish a network of formation centers.

Regular meetings with CAPP spiritual assistants, appointed by the respective Episcopal Conferences, serve the same purpose.But aside from formation, the Foundation has another, more practical, goal: raising funds to help support charities or institutions recommended by the Holy Father.Members have therefore also a material obligation.

To which other spheres will your action be aimed?

Domingo Sugranyes: responding to a specific appeal of the Holy Father, conveyed through His Eminence Attilio Cardinal Nicora, President of APSA (Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See) under whose aegis CAPP operates, we are endeavouring to provide financial support to another Vatican institution, the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI).

PISAI is a prestigious academic institutions which trains lay and religious destined to work in Arab and Islamic countries.PISAI has over 100 years of life and is highly respected in Islamic countries.We have been asked to help it modernize its structures and establish scholarships.We are thus getting involved in an area of enormous interest in today’s world: interreligious dialogue on issues of economic and social ethics.

The first report on the Social Doctrine of the Church, published by Cardinal Van Thuan, mentions the many initiatives promoting the diffusion of the Compendium of SDC.CAPP was born for this very purpose.Can you explain the Foundation’s initiatives and commitment in this respect?

Domingo Sugranyes: all our efforts will be focused on promoting the knowledge of the Doctrine andmeetings of our members with top economics and social ethics experts.But we are not alone!Luckily there are many initiatives throughout the world that operate in the same direction and there is plenty of work for everybody, made more fruitful by the input of such diverse experiences.